Locals look to hit Mega Millions

Published 12:02 am Monday, December 16, 2013

NATCHEZ — A half-billion dollar lottery jackpot has some in the Miss-Lou lining up with their $1 bets to see if they’re the lucky one-in-258,890,850.

After no one won the Mega Millions lottery drawing Friday, the jackpot prize rolled forward from $425 million to $550 million.

Mega Millions ticket sales kicked into high gear Saturday with area residents lining up to get their chance at living large.

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“We were so busy (selling Mega Millions tickets) I was wondering what the difference was, and when I looked at the Mega Millions jackpot, I said, ‘Oh, that’s the difference,’” Papa T’s clerk Betsy Loyed said.

Coretta Drake purchased one of the tickets for her fiancé Kevin Collins — a regular player — over the weekend, but she said $550 million was so much money it was almost too much to dream about.

“I don’t even know where we’d start,” she said. “We’d pay off bills, get a dream house and give some, but other than that? I don’t know.”

B-Kwik clerk Marquita Lyles said Saturday the store sold nearly $2,000 worth of lottery tickets in an eight-hour period. Though other lottery games were in play, Mega Millions was the clear favorite.

The Mega Millions game is played by choosing five numbers between 1 and 75 and a sixth number — the yellow Mega Ball — between 1 and 15. Players can chose their own numbers or have randomly assigned “quick picks” played for them.

Mega Millions plays cost $1, and for a second dollar players can take a chance on a Megaplier of 2, 3, 4 or 5, which is randomly drawn at the time. Winners of any prizes other than the jackpots have their prize multiplied by the amount of the Megaplier if they choose to buy it.

Mega Millions drawings are at 10 p.m. every Tuesday and Friday.

Lyles said the game is popular with regular players anyway because it has a one-in-15 chance of winning some prize. But when the big money comes into play, she sees people buying 10 to 20 tickets at a time.

“They are excited,” she said. “They feel like with buying more tickets, the more likely the chances are they will win.”

Though things picked up Saturday evening — Loyed said players sometimes mistakenly assume the Mega Millions will be drawn on Saturday, at the same time as the Powerball game — Lyles said she expects things to really pick up today and Tuesday.

“They draw the Mega Millions at 10 p.m., and at 8 p.m. we will have a lot of last minute people in here buying $60 worth of tickets.”